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Black Rock Canyon, NM

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Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
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Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
Canyoneering
Consensus
View 1
Grade2
Water
Risk
Time
Statistics
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Difficulty 4.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 4.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,764 feet
Elevation Gain 2,100 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,300 feet
Avg Time One Way 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12.36
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
Dogs not allowed
Post the 1st photoset!
Author imike
author avatar Guides 253
Routes 0
Photos 6,930
Trips 2,467 map ( 21,513 miles )
Age 69 Male Gender
Location Cloudcroft, NM
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Preferred   Apr, Mar, Oct, Nov → Early
Seasons   Late Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:51am - 6:02pm
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Water
Short but Sweet!
by imike

Among the major canyon cuts in the Alamogordo area there are also smaller, shorter drainages that do not cut all the way back into the ridges, but originate on the front of the formations. These typically cut up and back for just a few miles and at a glance would not be worth heading over to... but...


...you should take the time. For a simple day hike these provide some of the very best outings in the area. Black Rock is one of the shorter and more interesting of these day adventures. You begin your day at the trailhead for Alamo Canyon (T104) and hike south cross country to the third major drainage pouring off the escarpment. If you're lucky you'll encounter the old BLM road (powerline road) and follow it easily across the desert terrain. At some point you will need to leave that road and drop into one of the creek bottoms. Interestinly, they flow south along the face of the mountains and will carry you over to access any of the canyons. Black Rock is the last cut before you reach the major canyon: Mule Canyon.

The climbs are similar to what you'll find in Pock Rock Canyon, perhaps a bit more difficult. The major waterfalls can be skirted around, if needed. A bit over a mile up into the canyon the drainage splits. I have not hiked the left fork, but it appears to be a nice option for a traversing loop return: Hike up the right fork, then hike across to the head of the left fork and back down and around? Additionally, you can proceed up and out of the drainage, ascending the cliffs at the base of the Steamboat formation. It is possible to loop over and down into Alamo Canyon for a longer day.

The four hours noted is just for the one way portion of the hike... plan on a full day to go up and back!

These little canyons with their numberous pour over dry waterfalls provide some delightful full body workouts and some great moments of solitude and adventure. The approach to this one takes a bit more work, but it is well worth the effort.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your canyon trip to support this local community.

2012-03-15 imike
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Black Rock Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Continuing our Summer, Early morning Black Rocks Series... this time, cut just south of Black Rock Not... very nice small cut. Exited along lower side hill route... provided nice shade! I think this may be our final choice for the new North South trail. This section will be Black Trak! Need to audit all these Black Cuts... and name the smaller canyons.

    Ross, Mary and Teresa along today...
    Black Rock Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I let Ross take the canyon group on up and out the top of the North Fork... then down and around through the Black Gap. My back still recovering from the fall on Thursday. May be time to take a recuperating break... then build back up slowly. I never reached a high point day in 2014... might be nice to do it right and at least score a 12K day this Fall?

    Couple of 9-10 year olds on todays outing...nice to see. One final canyon to do in this Series... think we'll repeat Ortega South next month... close out where we started!!
    Black Rock Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    early start... long day. Made our way up the correct canyon this time... and it was nice. the Upper regions did not offer much other than overviews into future routes... and access easily up to the Steamboat formation. We encounter the site of a plan wreck with most of the plane long gone.

    We exited below the Steamboat... down upper Deadman... into middle Dead... and that provided a great descent. We hit the Spur trail over to Roundup Ground trail... and down and out.

    We worked our way at various points around to see 4-6 more routes to check out.. the most dramatic will likely be BlackFace... the canyon immediately north of Black Rock. It appears to be cut off low down with a towering Face of Black rock. We could not see all the crevices... maybe there will be access???

    Steamboat access from the west end is not going to happen... need to loop the south side (Mule Canyon north) to check for routes... but more likely it will be from upper Deadman to the far east saddle.

    Sunny with breezes... 50's... very nice out!!
    Black Rock Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    made a wrong turn... the plan was to check out the upper reaches of Black Rock, but instead did a full on exploratory of the cut to the north. More demanding and more difficult than Black Rock, but exceptional hike. Checked out upper ranges of the west cut of Rock Springs for the descent. Now, need to go back out and up the real Black Rock next week!
    Black Rock Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Black Rock Canyon
    With my recent loss of conditioning (three weeks of no real hikes!) I ventured out for a slow pace, cross country exploration of the canyons south of my house. The first drainage did not look promising, but the next two both appeared to have potential. I chose the one furthest south and trekked over to the wash, then on up into the canyon... I was pleasantly surprised to discover yet another great canyon adventure. The formations are similar to Pock Rock Canyon, just more falls and a longer total climb. I did not make it all the way into the upper section. It splits and appears to suggest a potential to loop up one fork and descend the other.

    The approach was also interesting... an old jeep path across BLM land. Might make for nice trail running and mountain bike adventuring. It also provides a direct access to Mule Canyon, the biggy canyon down that way (one drainage further south).

    I was really slow... really weak. Light headed and dizzy, but still managed to do the climbs.

    I guess the training begins anew... again!

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
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    Road
    Paved - Car Okay

    To canyon trip
    From White Sands Blvd in Alamogordo, head east over to Scenic, then follow Scenic all the way to it's far south end. Drive to the left around the big water tank onto Alamo Canyon Road, and follow Alamo Canyon Rd to it's end at the City Water processing tanks. Walk south across the private land... entering BLM land
    page created by imike on Mar 15 2012 3:53 pm
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